Local 338 is an amalgamated union representing four separate bargaining units: Kaiser Aluminum - production/maintenance and clerical/technical workers, Kaiser Alutek workers, and LB Foster pre-cast/railroad ties division workers. We number more than 1000 private sector members who work primarily in manufacturing industries in North Eastern Washington.
From time to time Trentwood hosts guest tours of the plant. When these tours take place I usually get questions and feedback from members on the floor. Most of the feedback comes from people who don’t understand the importance of visitors touring the plant. Frequently, those comments focus on the amount of preparation that goes into a guest tour. For some there is a perception that tours are nothing more than staged “dog and pony shows” with patterned routes that leave out the real nuts and bolts that make Trentwood what it is today. As a means to dispel those myths here are the facts and why it’s important to put our best foot forward. Generally speaking, plant tours can be broken down into several categories:
(1) Executive tours usually include Kaiser board members and corporate executives. These are the people who have the ability and authority to recommend and approve capital investment. Since 2005 more than 240 million dollars has been invested in new equipment at Trentwood. Some of you can remember that in 2002 plant manning levels were down to about 230 hourly employees. Today, because of that capital investment approximately 850 people are employed in flat rolled products.
(2) Customer tours allow clients and potential customers an opportunity to view the equipment and processes in use at Trentwood. As a rule, customers want to see what we do and how well we do it.
(3) Investor tours give visitors a chance to see the equipment, operations and the infrastructure of the plant. As can be expected, investors want a look at what they have already invested in, or in some cases about to invest in.
(4) Public Relations tours take in political leaders, community leaders, government officials and other dignitaries. PR tours promote good relations.
Whenever visitors tour Trentwood it’s an opportunity to showcase the plant and the people who work here. Many of you have participated in these tours and have helped explain our processes and how the equipment works. Having taken part in several tours, I always walk away impressed by the knowledge, skills and professionalism of you our members. Over the last 40 years I’ve toured quite a few factories and so far I haven't seen anything that compares to our plant and the people who work here! We would all like to see more investment at Trentwood. Future investment means prosperity and good paying jobs that include long term job security. The next time you see a tour headed your way, remember, first impressions can say a lot about us as Steelworkers.
ATTENDANCE CONTROL POLICY AND FMLA
FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) Website - http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/
Several times a year we are called on to represent members who have accumulated attendance points and are in jeopardy of losing their jobs. In some of those cases had the employee known, they could have requested time off under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and had their attendance points waived. We frequently hear from members who say they did not know FMLA could be used for a personal medical condition. In fact, there have been several cases had the employee applied for FMLA and been granted leave, they would not have ended up in the disciplinary process. In light of conversations I’ve had with some members, I’m sure the majority don’t understand how FMLA works. A loose explanation of the federal guidelines states that qualified employees can take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and personal medical reasons. Eligible employees are entitled to twelve work-weeks of leave in a twelve month period for any of the following reasons:
· Serious health conditions that makes the employee unable to perform the job;
· The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
· To care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition.
Employees who have questions about FMLA or how to apply should contact Vicki at extension 6427 or Kathy at extension 6423. Don’t wait to apply for FMLA until after you’ve accumulated attendance points due to a medical problem.
Dan Wilson, President—Local 338